Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.1.1 Str. 9.1.6 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.1.10


After Crommyon, rising above Attica, are the rocks called Scironides, which afford no passage along the sea-side. Over them, however, is a road which leads to Megara and Attica from the Isthmus. The road approaches so near the rocks that in many places it runs along the edge of precipices, for the overhanging mountain is of great height, and impassable.

Here is laid the scene of the fable of Sciron, and the Pityocamptes, or the pine-breaker, one of those who infested with their robberies the above-mentioned mountainous tract. They were slain by Theseus.

The wind Argestes, [Note] which blows from the left with violence, from these summits is called by the Athenians Sciron.

After the rocks Scironides there projects the promontory Minoa, forming the harbour of Nisæa. Nisæa is the arsenal of Megara, and distant 18 stadia from the city; it is joined to it by walls on each side. [Note] This also had the name of Minoa. 9.1.5

In former times the Ionians occupied this country, and were also in possession of Attica, before the time of the building of Megara, wherefore the poet does not mention these places by any appropriate name, but when he calls all those dwelling in Attica, Athenians, he comprehends these also in the common appellation, regarding them as Athenians; so when, in the Catalogue of the Ships, he says, And they who occupied Athens, a well-built city, [Note]
Il. ii. 546.

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we must understand the present Megarenses also, as having taken a part in the expedition. The proof of this is, that Attica was, in former times, called Ionia, and Ias, and when the poet says, There the Bœoti, and Iaones, [Note]
Il. xiii. 685.
he means the Athenians. But of this Ionia Megaris was a part. 9.1.6

Besides, the Peloponnesians and Ionians having had frequent disputes respecting their boundaries, on which Crommyonia also was situated, assembled and agreed upon a spot of the Isthmus itself, on which they erected a pillar having an inscription on the part towards Peloponnesus, THIS IS PELOPONNESUS, NOT IONIA;
and on the side towards Megara, THIS IS NOT PELOPONNESUS, BUT IONIA.
Although those, who wrote on the history of Attica [Note] differ in many respects, yet those of any note agree in this, that when there were four Pandionidæ, ægeus, Lycus, Pallas, and Nisus; and when Attica was divided into four portions, Nisus obtained, by lot, Megaris, and founded Nisæa. Philochorus says, that his government extended from the Isthmus to Pythium, [Note] but according to Andron, as far as Eleusis and the Thriasian plain.

Since, then, different writers give different accounts of the division of the country into four parts, it is enough to adduce these lines from Sophocles where ægeus says, My father determined that I should go away to Acte, having assigned to me, as the elder, the best part of the land; to Lycus, the opposite garden of Eubœa; for Nisus he selects the irregular tract of the shore of Sciron; and the rugged Pallas, breeder of giants, obtained by lot the part to the south. [Note] Such are the proofs which are adduced to show that Megaris was a part of Attica. 9.1.7

After the return of the Heraclidæ, and the partition of the country, many of the former possessors were banished from their own land by the Heraclidæ, and by the Dorians, who came with them, and migrated to Attica. Among these was Melanthus, the king of Messene. He was voluntarily ap-

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pointed king of the Athenians, after having overcome in single combat, Xanthus, the king of the Bœotians. When Attica became populous by the accession of fugitives, the Heraclidæ were alarmed, and invaded Attica, chiefly at the instigation of the Corinthians and Messenians; the former of whom were influenced by proximity of situation, the latter by the circumstance that Codrus, the son of Melanthus, was at that time king of Attica. They were, however, defeated in battle and relinquished the whole of the country, except the territory of Megara, of which they kept possession, and founded the city Megara, where they introduced as inhabitants Dorians in place of Ionians. They destroyed the pillar also which was the boundary of the country of the Ionians and the Peloponnesians. 9.1.8

The city of the Megarenses, after having experienced many changes, still subsists. It once had schools of philosophers, who had the name of the Megaric sect. They succeeded Euclides, the Socratic philosopher, who was by birth a Megarensian, in the same manner as the Eleiaci, among whom was Pyrrhon, who succeeded Phædon, the Eleian, who was also a Socratic philosopher, and as the Eretriaci succeeded Menedemus the Eretrean.

Megaris, like Attica, is very sterile, and the greater part of it is occupied by what are called the Oneii mountains, a kind of ridge, which, extending from the Scironides rocks to Bœotia and to Cithæron, separates the sea at Nisæa from that near Page, called the Alcyonian Sea.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 9.1.1 Str. 9.1.6 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 9.1.10

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